Pediatric Annals

CME Article 

Early Intervention: A Crash Course for Pediatricians

Lisa H. Shulman, MD; Deborah Meringolo, MA, MS; Gretel Scott, LMSW

  • Pediatric Annals. 2007;36(8)
  • Posted August 1, 2007

Abstract

In an era in which concerns of an autism “epidemic” top the headlines, and parents are educated by the media that children should point by their first birthdays, it is more common than ever for parents to raise developmental concerns to their pediatricians at their children’s well child visits. When any developmental concerns are raised, the conversation quickly turns to the possible need for therapy and a referral to the Early Intervention program (EI). When the EI program began in the 1990s, many parents and healthcare professionals were just learning of the program: how to access it, eligibility criteria, and the available services. After 15 years, the EI program is well established in the majority of states. Healthcare providers, community agencies, and parents are aware of the program and recognize it as a critical resource for families with young children who are experiencing developmental delays. With the emphasis on early identification of developmental delays in the medical home, and the emerging data that groups of children and their families have better outcomes when identified and treated earlier, pediatricians are put on the hot seat: to identify children with developmental delays as early as possible, to refer them for evaluation, to oversee necessary medical/diagnostic evaluation, and to follow the children to ascertain that appropriate therapeutic services are in place. What’s a pediatrician already crunched for time to do?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lisa H. Shulman, MD, is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Director of Infant and Toddler Services, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, New York. Deborah Meringolo, MA, MS, is Associate Director of Infant and Toddler Services, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Gretel Scott, LMSW, is Early Intervention Program Coordinator, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Address correspondence to: Lisa H. Shulman, MD, 1165 Morris Park Avenue, Second Floor, Bronx, NY 10461; fax 718-430-3989; or e-mail shulman@aecom.yu.edu.

Dr. Shulman, Ms. Meringolo, and Ms. Scott have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the steps involved in the Early Intervention program, from referral to the delivery of services.
  2. Discuss the pediatrician’s role in the Early Intervention program.
  3. Review research associated with the effectiveness of the Early Intervention program.

Abstract

In an era in which concerns of an autism “epidemic” top the headlines, and parents are educated by the media that children should point by their first birthdays, it is more common than ever for parents to raise developmental concerns to their pediatricians at their children’s well child visits. When any developmental concerns are raised, the conversation quickly turns to the possible need for therapy and a referral to the Early Intervention program (EI). When the EI program began in the 1990s, many parents and healthcare professionals were just learning of the program: how to access it, eligibility criteria, and the available services. After 15 years, the EI program is well established in the majority of states. Healthcare providers, community agencies, and parents are aware of the program and recognize it as a critical resource for families with young children who are experiencing developmental delays. With the emphasis on early identification of developmental delays in the medical home, and the emerging data that groups of children and their families have better outcomes when identified and treated earlier, pediatricians are put on the hot seat: to identify children with developmental delays as early as possible, to refer them for evaluation, to oversee necessary medical/diagnostic evaluation, and to follow the children to ascertain that appropriate therapeutic services are in place. What’s a pediatrician already crunched for time to do?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lisa H. Shulman, MD, is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Director of Infant and Toddler Services, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, New York. Deborah Meringolo, MA, MS, is Associate Director of Infant and Toddler Services, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Gretel Scott, LMSW, is Early Intervention Program Coordinator, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Address correspondence to: Lisa H. Shulman, MD, 1165 Morris Park Avenue, Second Floor, Bronx, NY 10461; fax 718-430-3989; or e-mail shulman@aecom.yu.edu.

Dr. Shulman, Ms. Meringolo, and Ms. Scott have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the steps involved in the Early Intervention program, from referral to the delivery of services.
  2. Discuss the pediatrician’s role in the Early Intervention program.
  3. Review research associated with the effectiveness of the Early Intervention program.

In an era in which concerns of an autism “epidemic” top the headlines, and parents are educated by the media that children should point by their first birthdays, it is more common than ever for parents to raise developmental concerns to their pediatricians at their children’s well child visits. When any developmental concerns are raised, the conversation quickly turns to the possible need for therapy and a referral to the Early Intervention program (EI). When the EI program began in the 1990s, many parents and healthcare professionals were just learning of the program: how to access it, eligibility criteria, and the available services. After 15 years, the EI program is well established in the majority of states. Healthcare providers, community agencies, and parents are aware of the program and recognize it as a critical resource for families with young children who are experiencing developmental delays. With the emphasis on early identification of developmental delays in the medical home, and the emerging data that groups of children and their families have better outcomes when identified and treated earlier, pediatricians are put on the hot seat: to identify children with developmental delays as early as possible, to refer them for evaluation, to oversee necessary medical/diagnostic evaluation, and to follow the children to ascertain that appropriate therapeutic services are in place. What’s a pediatrician already crunched for time to do?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lisa H. Shulman, MD, is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Director of Infant and Toddler Services, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, New York. Deborah Meringolo, MA, MS, is Associate Director of Infant and Toddler Services, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Gretel Scott, LMSW, is Early Intervention Program Coordinator, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Address correspondence to: Lisa H. Shulman, MD, 1165 Morris Park Avenue, Second Floor, Bronx, NY 10461; fax 718-430-3989; or e-mail shulman@aecom.yu.edu.

Dr. Shulman, Ms. Meringolo, and Ms. Scott have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Describe the steps involved in the Early Intervention program, from referral to the delivery of services.
  2. Discuss the pediatrician’s role in the Early Intervention program.
  3. Review research associated with the effectiveness of the Early Intervention program.

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